When severe tropical cyclone Debbie ripped through the southern half of Queensland two years ago, Daydream Island, the Whitsundays beach resort that opened in the 1930s, took a serious hit. The main jetty was washed away, the roof of the day spa was torn off, and power, electricity and water to the island was lost.
Now, after 24 months of renovations, the island will reopen on April 15 with a new look and some lovingly restored features. The dated lilac walls, tiled flooring and rattan furniture of the previous incarnation have been replaced by a more contemporary and cohesive look thanks to architecture firm Hunt Design.
Beyond the resort’s angled exterior expect 277 airy suites in beach-y hues (soft blues, ivory, gold and tan) with wooden floorboards and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the pool, ocean or lush gardens.
Along with the revamped digs, three new dining concepts will launch, overseen by executive chef Keith Le Fevre. Infinity is an Asian-leaning diner with a private teppanyaki suite, Graze is a more casual buffet-style eatery with live cooking stations, and Inkstone Kitchen will focus on native Australian produce and flavours.
A swimming pool snakes around the entire resort, through tropical gardens and out to the beachfront, providing views over the Great Barrier Reef. A poolside bar will serve burgers, milkshakes and tropical cocktails.
Another feature from the resort’s heyday, an enormous 1.5 million-litre inland coral lagoon called the Living Reef, has had a refurb. It’s looked after by marine biologists who live on the island, and is home to baby stingrays, reef sharks, starfish, crabs and more than 100 different types of tropical fish. It’s now kitted out with an underwater observatory that allows guests to check out what’s happening a couple of leagues under the sea.
There’s also snorkelling, helicopter tours, jetski hire, an outdoor cinema, gym facilities and an adults-only sanctuary.
Daydream Island is currently taking bookings from April 15 onwards. Rooms start at $392 per night, twin share.